Wal-Mart plans 2,000 retail clinics

When Wal-Mart throws its massive clout behind a concept, chances are that it's going to take root. So fans of the retail clinic concept will be pleased to hear that the giant retailer plans to launch 2,000 clinics in its stores over the next five to seven years, giving a significant boost to the still-emerging primary care model. Wal-Mart isn't planning to go into the healthcare business directly, however; it expects to keep contracting with providers, who will lease space in the stores. The retail chain has been in the clinic business since 2005 and has already launched 76 walk-in clinics in 12 states. Presumably, these clinics have been a success, at least from a public relations perspective. Wal-Mart CEO describes the clinics as "a great opportunity for our business," but also stressed that the clinics could improve access to care. The move follows Wal-Mart's recent $4 generics campaign, which received massive--and reasonably positive--publicity despite the program's sharp limits on the drugs it offered.

To find out more about Wal-Mart's plans:
- read this United Press International article

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